CALGARY, March 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Bengal Energy (TSX: BNG) ("Bengal", or the "Company") is pleased to announce that drilling operations on the Cuisinier 7 appraisal well ("Cuisinier 7"), the first well of the planned 2013 five-well development and appraisal drilling campaign, commenced on March 20, 2013. Cuisinier 7 is located on the Company's 25%-owned Barta sub-block of Authority to Prospect ("ATP") 752P. Cuisinier 7 is an immediate offset to the Cuisinier 6 well, which on its Extended Production Test period has shown average daily production rates of 750 barrels of oil per day ("bopd") (187 bopd net to Bengal) since testing began on October 15, 2012. The Cuisinier drilling program includes five firm and one contingent development and appraisal wells and is designed to optimize pool productivity and to further define ultimate pool size. Each well is targeting the primary Murta Formation. Total drill depth is approximately 1,750 metres per well and drilling and evaluation time for each well is anticipated to be approximately two weeks excluding move times. For the month of January 2013, production of 52 degree gravity oil from the Cuisinier pool has been sold at Brent pricing plus a quality premium averaging US$120 per barrel. Field netbacks after royalties and operating and transportation costs are estimated by Bengal to be approximately US$75 per produced barrel. Bengal has been advised by the operator of the Cuisinier project that receipt of regulatory approvals and ministerial grant of the Petroleum Lease allowing for concurrent production of all eight wells in the Cuisinier pool is anticipated in April 2013. In addition, the sales pipeline from Cuisinier to the nearby Cook production facility has been completed. Tie in of these eight Cuisinier wells to the production infrastructure at the Cook facility is expected during April 2013 and once completed is expected to provide an approximate $7.00 per barrel decrease in operating and transportation costs and increase net production from 325 bopd to between 500 - 600 bopd. Final processing and interpretation of the Cuisinier North 3D seismic program acquired in late 2012 is expected mid-year 2013. This new subsurface data was designed to identify structural and stratigraphic anomalies at multiple levels and is anticipated to lead to additional exploratory and development drilling opportunities in 2014.